I think the best advice I’ve had on doing Games Journalism For Money has come from Chris Thursten as he’s been sharing his “figuring it out as I go” stories. He’s not given them as “advice” per-se – they’re more like unintentional parables. They tend to boil down to a couple of things:
1. Do the job
2. Remember that it is a job
3. Be reliable
4. If you get a chance, take it
So, when I was asked to do a 2 word preview of Company of Heroes 2 on a two day deadline (weekdays, so I had Day Job to fit it around) my thoughts were first: “no way” then “you can’t say no” then “but…” then “do the fucking job Craig.” And so I accepted and I told myself that I was going to be sure that it was worthy of 2 pages near the front of PCG.
I work well with a deadline, diving deeper into a mild state of panic as it approaches until the work is done, and the work tends to come out pretty well, generally. I usually gauge my success by how much something is edited (everything gets edited, it’s a requirement for good work to the point that I’ve started getting Craig Lam to edit my GD stuff) but so long as there are no huge changes required then I consider myself to be doing fine. And it was fine! A few tweaks, normal editing stuff. An article I was really happy with done on a short deadline. Nice.
Really, I don’t know why I worry about this stuff so much (it’s a lot, Chris can testify) – maybe it just comes with the job, or maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s a requirement for me to do the work to the standard I want to do it. As long as it gets it done though, I don’t really mind. However, there’s always that nag. “What if they just didn’t have time to bounce it?” “What if they’re all sat around in the office laughing” – or worse – “what if it was just ok enough to get through but they’re never going to offer me work again”. It’s irrational, they’re professionals (and really nice guys) so I’m sure they’d say or just flat out bounce it, but my particular brand of not-really-neurosis-but-a-bit-like-it wont let me think otherwise.
You can read the preview in the Christmas edition of PCG, hope you like it.